What is mindfulness in the context of sport and training? It’s the ability to focus all your attention 100% on the present moment. You might even call it being “in the zone”. It’s something the very best athletes can do well, and it results in these athletes being able to generate great results time and time again.
Mindfulness is something we should all get right. It’s a practice which will allow all of us to achieve and surpass our goals, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced athlete, and in any sport, from running or Olympic weightlifting.
So How Do You Practice Mindfulness in Sport?
When your mind needs to be applied in the current moment and on the task or event at hand, other general thoughts will need to be noted as simple passing states in the mind that do not require action. By doing this it will create enough time between your perception and your response and it will give you the chance to respond to situations more objectively, rather than automatically.
By being consciously mindful, you can note interfering thoughts, anxiety, tension or environmental conditions. Once noted, you can choose which of those need action to help your task at hand or select to let those which do not influence the task to simply pass by as they are temporary states.
In order to become better at mindfulness, you need to practice it. Exercises include a body scan exercise, where you take time to pay attention to specific areas of your body, like your head, hands, knees, stomach, shoulders, feet, etc., all one by one. By doing this you will notice the sensations that are present, feeling the contact the body is making with the environment. You should regularly scan your whole body, from head to toe. Research how to do it properly and do it frequently.
Another exercise is a breathing exercise. In a comfortable setting, you focus only on your breathing and on keeping it deep and rhythmic. You focus on each breath, whether you focus on your chest or abdomen, or on the sensation of the breath through your nose and mouth. Environmental distractions (noises, etc.) are fine to be noticed, but refocussing on your breathing is what helps with this training.
By practicing these and other techniques, you will increase your natural mindfulness for when you need it most for specific tasks or events. The better you become at focussing your mind only the things you want and need to, you can start achieving better results and even start better noticing which parts of your tasks need to be improved.
Become more mindful and start reaping the rewards…